Tag Archives: Bedford Borough

Free Parking for Council Vans?

26 Aug

Now I know a bit about this. For a few years I was in the pay of Bedford Borough Council on a reasonable whack (over £30k)  with nothing to do so I’d take a little Borough van and tootle into town often parking wherever I wanted but not in anyone’s way. Only once did I get a parking ticket for parking on the pavement behind Lurke Street car park and I was told by a council chap called Dave Lant (since made redundant) to send it to head honcho and bag carrier Stewart Briggs who would get it cancelled. So I did and…he did!

Now if your recall a blog from last year titled “Bedford’s Very Own Twat in the Hat”, I snapped one of the traffic blokes booking a lorry that was unloading a single pallet of paper to the Magistrates Court and having spoke to the driver who had said he’d be no more than five minutes I found the warden to be acting like a total TWAT of the highest order. TWAT squared. Ancient Order of The Twat!

Bedford's very own Twat wearing a silly hat!

Bedford’s very own Twat wearing a silly hat!

Hence the blog which started a real flow of information about the traffic wardens, what they get up to, who the decent ones are but plenty of gripes about the TWAT and his general appearance which is at times very “Clint Eastwood”.  Now I’ve seen this traffic warden numerous times one of which was in a very odd location which I won’t go into too much detail, another time he seemed to be hiding up waiting for his late shift to finish so he could go home. Fair do’s.

And here he is again, or it certainly looks like him. This time he’s booking motorbikes for parking up and transgressing. Those evil motorbike people.

He wears really stupid sun shades that make him look a TWAT!

He wears really stupid sun shades that make him look a TWAT!

One thing I don’t see is any attention to Bedford Borough Council fleet vehicles parked where the driver sees fit which I guess leads to accusations of double standards? Here’s one (below) parked in the loading / unloading bay at the side of the Corn Exchange so when dross tribute acts, Sally and Sweep and Psychic Sooty come to town they have somewhere to park. This van wasn’t unloading in fact for the twenty minutes or so that I was hovering (sad person I am) there was no sign of the driver. It was market day so maybe he was getting his fruit and veg?

The point here is that the Council in their wisdom have fenced off the large motorcycle parking spot near the town bridge and the goon-squad or at least one of them is now doing his trick of doling out tickets to easy targets.

Meanwhile you can spot Borough vans dotted around parked up for no obvious reason with care free abandon. As ever I have raised this with Phil Simpkins with the ultimate being if he says this van (shown below) has an exemption to park up I’ll be asking a few select questions as to why this status is not applied to non Council vehicles! Councillors humph and grump about parking but nothing happens. Lard Arse Eric Pickles comes to town and gets in the papers cos he’s going to sort parking out then waddles off and nothing happens! Bedford..where nothing happens…..

It'll be alright here...no one will notice!

It’ll be alright here…no one will notice!



Nash the Slash no more!

28 Jul

I’ve moved steadily from being a hip rock on reader of Q magazine to Mojo mostly because I find a lot of todays music quite bland and inane but also because Mojo do a monthly list of famous names in the music world who have swiftly moved from composing to decomposing!

One name in the current September issue (*?) is that of Jeff Plewman who few will be familiar with. Slightly more may know him by his alter ego of Nash the Slash and the key thing was that 30odd years back he was ploughing his own furrow of very dark slightly disturbing electro music whilst at the same time as never (ever) being seen without his trademark totally bandaged face and accompanying white tuxedo and top hot!Nash the Military Slash

He supported a post Tubeway Army Gary Numan in 1980 and 1981 which introduced him to the UK where Steve Hillage produced his first album to hit the European market! Detective work eventually outed Nash the Slash as Jeff Plewman mostly because Plewman was the legal tax paying entity behind the Nash company so to speak although for decades there was much guesswork, red herrings and false trails i.e. strong suggestions that Nash was in fact xyz only for the two of the them to appear on stage or at a do together. The only certainty was that he originated in a Laurel and Hardy film from the 30s in which the duo were pursued by a psychotic killer called…Nash the Slash!

Like many he fell out of favour to that awful Kylie bland pop period but carried on working at low level before he eventually started to garner a core respective audience outside his native Canada playing regularly in the UK up to 2012. The music still chilling with a touch of the sinister, the on and off stage garb a bit more surreal and theatrical rather than thrown together i.e. a telephone engineer with a facial sarcophagus like appearance!

If you’ve never heard of or for that matter heard Nash the Slash you have now and here he is with “Swing Shift”


Double Standards

30 Jan

Bedfords Conservative MP Richard Fuller made a valid point in his regular newspaper column last week about the council’s enthusisam for using its CCTV vans as cash registers as they snap anyone parking anywhere out of line for a few seconds. The actual traffic wardens are like most council staff, low paid, doing a job they’d much rather not do (apart from one of them who reminds me of Tackleberry from the Police Academy films and too thick to be a PCSO) and you can reason with them. They have a workable rappore with the local traders and know when to ignore a van loading up or delivering. The camera vans don’t afford this common sense approach as the happy snapper is remotely ensconced inside. As fast as its earning quids for Bedford Borough its slowly and surely chipping away at the connection between the authority and the community.

Chief supporter of the “fine em” approach is Cllr Rev Charles Royden shown below with his best friend. Charles is very eager to spout his views and get his picture in the paper however he was notably absent from an article in yesterday’s Bedfordshire on Sunday which showed a Borough Council vehicle parked dangerously outside a school.

Such anti social activities (a council phrase) near schools have been used by the Borough to fund two parking enforcement vehicles both of which have also been put to use against evil criminal masterminds in and around town like one nasty orrible retailer who needs to load furniture up outside his shop in order for his business to survive. The choice is common sense or an another empty shop!

I have my own solution to this stupidity from the council and on Saturday we all went to a vintage retro Emporium down St Albans! Free parking for three hours!

Snails pace!

10 Nov

Its not only the traffic that moves slowly through Bedford, the Council itself isn’t all that quick at passing on details of what its well paid elected folk have been up to. The last Full Council meeting was on October 19th and there’s still no sign of the minutes. Other later meetings have been scribed and published albeit in draft but its still there for anyone with nothing better to do to see what your money is being spent on. Putting this in perspective there was a Sustainability meeting on Nov 4th and whilst it not minuted as such there is a Record of Decisions. Pretty good going there even if the record might as well be in Mandarin.

Corporate Services, Planning and the General Licencing Sub Committee have all met since and the minutes are there but not Full Council which is to be honest one of the few where you’d expect with cutbacks, to be entertained. Nothing as yet maybe no none actually said anything.

The Rural Affairs meeting on November 1st was cancelled presumably no one out in cabbage growing land is knocking about with the neighbour, I had a look at the minutes for the September meeting and it lasted a record 15 minutes. Boring but look, Councillors need to attend something to justify the payments.

Incidentally I see the Parking Enforcement Van toddling through town most mornings, its causing ructions as the driver has found an easy target, business vehicles delivering to shops, so its “fine” in Bedford these days. To see if this had been discussed by our paid elected councillors I looked at the Parking Advisory Group and…its not met since September….2010. But they still get paid.

Council meetings are funny things. In the past I’ve organised and minutes council meetings. I had my right eye surgically removed when I was 14 and I know which experience was the most rewarding.

One trick that councillors and senior council officers woulod do was have a look at the basic draft and then ensure that pet subjects were boosted in terms of content, it wasn’t unknown for completely new wording to be put in that was never actually said. One senior officer specifically had me inserting words in that related to a very specific company on the off chance that it would boost their profile.

So I get suspicious when I delve into council minutes and even more suspicious when they are delayed for unreasonable amounts of time!

An Old FLame

8 Nov

The Olympic torch will grace Bedford at some point as it tours the UK. We are all paying for this fiasco so as part of the process of softening us up for when the full invoice lands on our desks we can all get whipped up with enthusiasm and passion. We won’t have seen anything like this since Diana’s coffin came up to M1 ten years ago and crowds blocked junction 13 just to get a glimpse of a wooden box.

There’s no particular reason for Bedford or quite what will happen, we are not special, the torch is going all over the UK. In other places the torch will travel in cable cars on zip wires and more. Hopefully if it is to truly reflect the state of Bedford it should be put in some sort of vehicle and forced to sit in one of numerous interminable delays or maybe it could be fastened to the top of the councils camera van which is currently fund raising for the Mayor by targeting town centre traders unloading.

Either way we will get whipped up with enthusiasm and let down by the end results.